Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Power of Words

Today, Staley and I were working on crawling.  (Well, actually, I've mastered crawling, so I was helping Staley.)  Staley is often very content to sit and play, and she still prefers rolling as her primary means of independent mobility.  She is starting to get up onto her hands and knees, but has still not figured out how to move herself forward on her stomach or on her hands and knees.  So during our play time today, I was using the most powerful motivational tool that I know...my cell phone.  I would place the cell phone several feet away from Staley and then help her move forward on her stomach to reach it.  I would then let her play with it for a minute or two (so sorry if anyone got a random call from me), and then I'd take it and make her scoot forward to it again.  After we had done this about 3 or 4 times, I took the cell phone away and placed it several feet away from Staley once more.  Instead of moving forward with my help as she had done previously, Staley rolled onto her back, looked right at me, and signed 'more.'  I guess Staley has already figured out that you don't have to learn how to crawl if you can just tell someone what you want.  I must say, I was quite impressed with her understanding and use of her one sign.  Oh, the power of language!  Unfortunately for Staley, I still believe in the power of mobility as well, so I deliberately misinterpreted her 'more' to mean 'more crawling' and made her scoot forward to get the cell phone once more.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Unfortunate

The Good:
Zach took Friday off work for a 2-day family trek down to St. Louis.  We enjoyed taking Staley to Grant's Farm and the zoo, and we got to spend some time with our friends and their new baby twins.  As always, Staley did great traveling.  She napped for most of the ride down and back, enjoyed the sights (zebras still appear to be her favorite zoo animal), and slept great in the hotel. 

Family time at Grant's Farm

Petting the goats (who then tried to eat Staley and Zach's clothes)

The fun tram ride at Grant's Farm

Hanging with new buds Mason and Madison

The Bad:
The carpenter for our house project came on Friday to finish up some of the trim work.  He finished his work for the day on Friday afternoon, locked up our house, and shut the door to the basement before he left.  Unfortunately, the cats were upstairs...and their litter boxes are in the basement.  So from Friday until Saturday evening when we got home, the cats did not have access to their litter boxes.  Apparently the next best thing to a litter box is our bed (for peeing) and the corner couch cushion (for pooping).

The Unfortunate:
So instead of getting home from a fun week-end away and relaxing for the evening, we instead cleaned up kitty poop off the couch, rented a steam vac to clean the violated couch cushion, threw out our mattress (along with the sheets and comforter), and went out to buy a new mattress (so we'd have somewhere to sleep for the night).  On the plus side, the mess was contained to those two specific spots...and at least we weren't gone for a week.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"More, Please"

This is Staley's new favorite phrase.  Can she say it?  Nope.  But can she sign it?  You bet!  Staley now officially understands and uses the sign for 'more' consistently. (We just add the please to hopefully start some early lessons in manners).  She doesn't even need prompting.  Once a bite of food has entered her mouth or the last Cheerio has been eaten off her tray, she's signing for 'more' before she has even finished swallowing.  Eating is good motivation when teaching her to sign since eating remains one of her favorite activities.

And along with her official first sign, we've come to a consensus and declared 'mama' Staley's first word.  She still doesn't always use it in context, but she has become more consistent crying it when I walk away or saying it when looking at me.  I still wasn't convinced (I'm a stickler about being absolutely sure before declaring a 'first'), but Zach was ready to make it official.  (And who am I to complain about my daughter's first word being 'mama'?)  She has also said 'up' several times when playing a game where she stands up and then plops down, and she said 'Papa' a few times one day when her Papa Sancken was over.  And 'uhmah' or 'mum' are frequently paired with the sign for 'more', so that one is getting close.  Staley is so alert and interested in her world, and it will be fun when she can share more of her thoughts with us.  But she can already share one thought--'more food, please'--and that's a good start.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Special Greetings from my Little Pumpkin

Big Drinker

Over the past few weeks, we have been giving Staley a little water at meal times to help introduce her to cup use.  After she finishes drinking her water (with us holding the cup), I will let her play with the cup (which is always great fun.)  Yesterday, during her after-drinking-play-time, she began lifting the cup to her mouth.  I put a little more water into her cup (just to see what she would do), and she drank it down...ALL BY HERSELF.

Mommy's big drinker!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cousins are the Best!

Each month, Staley's baby book has sections to fill in.  I can write her routines, favorite toys, foods she likes, funny things she does, places she's been.  One of the sections is:  "My friends are______________."  And it makes me smile each time I can fill that space in with "my cousins."  Staley loves spending time with her cousins, and I love that Staley has cousins nearby who are close in age.

Elliott loves to give hugs, tickle her toes, and share his toys.

Even though Staley has a few pounds on him, Liam can hold his own...

as evidenced by trying to eat his cousin...

and steal her toys.

Girl's Day Out with Olivia and Lila was fun, although Staley missed Cade while he was at school.

Olivia is such a fun and loving big cousin.

Staley already looks up to her.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In One Piece

I stood on our deck today.  Our deck that is no longer in the middle of the backyard.  Our deck that is attached to our house.  Our deck that is still in one piece.  And my husband and my father-in-law are still in one piece too.  It's a good day!

Friday, September 16, 2011

All Because Two People Fell in Love


...and got married 10 years ago.  Ten years = 40 vacations, 10 NFL seasons, 10 vehicles, 5 countries, 2.6 college/graduate degrees, 2 homes, and 1 perfect baby girl.  Happy anniversary to the best husband in the world.  I couldn't be more blessed!



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On The Move

Staley has really been trying to move when she's on her stomach.  And she has discovered a new form of mobility.  She can now explore her environment by rolling, pivoting on her stomach, and moving herself backwards.  Unfortunately for Staley, it seems that when she most wants to move forward is when she starts scooting herself backwards.  This has led to some frustration, but Staley can typically go with the flow...even if the flow includes getting stuck under her crib.

"Now how did I get here?"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Eight Months

Eight short months ago, Staley was my 7 lb, 8 oz ball of sleepy loveliness.  Now she is 17 lbs of smiley, happy, giggly, lively loveliness.  Staley is in her 6-9 month wardrobe and her size 3 diapers.  Her 4 teeth are frequently on display with her big, heart-warming smiles.  She still eats 2 meals each day of solid foods, nurses 4 times a day, takes 2 naps, and sleeps 10 hours at night (waking up like clock-work every morning between 6:15 and 6:30.)  In her eighth month, Staley started at her in-home daycare, enjoyed Washington, DC, and welcomed in the 2011-2012 NFL football season.   

Likes:  Staley is happy most of the time.  She loves Mommy and Daddy, lighting up when she sees us.  She enjoys going for walks and runs in her stroller, swinging and sliding at the park, and watching other little kids.  She is intrigued by animals, and Jake and Elwood still excite her when they are around.  Staley's favorite toys are her stacking cups, Noah's Ark animals, barrel of monkeys, her new toy kitchen, and her activity table.  However, she still loves non-toy toys too--spatulas, cups, bowls, laptops, notebooks, cell phones, water bottles, Kleenex packages...  I don't need to take her toys when we go out--my purse contents are much more fun!  Staley still loves to eat.  Her current favorite foods are sweet potatoes, any fruit, and Gerber Puffs.

Dislikes:  Staley does not like when preferred 'toys' are taken away from her.  She still isn't crazy about homemade carrots, although will eat them without gagging.  She is now scared of her Move and Crawl ball (which used to be a favorite toy).  And she still gets fussy when she is hungry or tired.

Skills:  It amazes me how quickly Staley is changing.  She sits like a pro, rolls to get what she wants, pivots on her stomach, and loves to stand holding onto things.  She is trying to get on hands and knees, trying to scoot forward on her stomach, and trying to pull to stand from sitting on the floor, but hasn't quite achieved these skills yet.  Staley loves to examine her toys, turning them over and transferring them from hand to hand.  Opening and closing things is great fun, which is one the reasons her new toy kitchen provides hours of entertainment.  (The day she got it, she spent about 10 minutes straight opening and closing the little refrigerator door.)  Staley loves to take things out of containers, bang toys together, and drop toys on the floor from her high chair.  She is daily improving with finger feeding, and now can consistently pick up Puffs off her high chair tray with her thumb and finger and get them into her mouth.  She also likes to 'help' pull her spoon into her mouth when I'm feeding her.  Clapping, waving, and doing 'so big' remain Staley's favorite tricks.  (The other morning when Staley woke up, Zach went into her room to get her out of her crib.  She smiled big, waved at him, threw her arms in the air for 'so big', and then clapped for herself.)  Staley is making lots and lots of new sounds (with 'm' and 'b' as her favorite two consonants), but nothing that we are ready to label as a first word.  She will occasionally do the sign for 'more', but not consistently.  She has a lot to say--I just wish I could understand it.  Life with Staley is great!  I thank God every single day for the blessing that she is to us.

Staley at 8 months

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Are You Ready for Some Football?

For Zach, the Bear's season opener is better than Christmas.  Staley can't make that distinction for herself yet since she hasn't experienced her first Christmas, but she definitely enjoyed her first Bear's opening day.  First, Staley got to watch a little television (which we NEVER let her do), so that was a special treat.  She was also intrigued (and giggly) when Zach jumped up, spiked his football pillow, cheered, or did a victory dance. Staley always loves having family play time, so even though we were watching the game, Staley enjoyed sitting on the floor with us while playing with her toys.  And, of course, Staley couldn't have been more pleased with how well the Bears played.  She had lots of opportunities to practice her clapping.  And we started working with her on high fives, fist bumps, and signaling touchdowns.  (Hopefully she'll have plenty of opportunities to practice these over the coming weeks as well.)  I can't agree that opening day is better than Christmas, but it's a close second.

Pre-game family pictures

Rally cap!

Staley and Daddy glued to the game.

She wasn't quite as interested last season.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

If You're Happy and You Know It...

...there's only one thing to do.  And my happy little girl must know it, because today she started clapping her hands.  Apparently there are lots of reasons to clap.  Driving to Menards is clap-worthy.  Playing with a toy kitchen deserves some applause.  And, of course, you have to clap about sitting on a blanket on the living room floor.  Staley and I had a great day together today.  Our fun day made me happy...and apparently Staley felt the same.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

On the Verge

That's where Staley is living these days.  On the verge...of talking...of signing...of getting onto hands and knees...of pulling up to stand...of feeding herself.  She has two 'are-they-words?' sounds.  'Mama' is still a favorite, but it's hard to know if mama has a true connection to me.  Tonight Staley got upset when I left the room.  Zach said she started crying, looked right at the door I went through, and said 'mama.'  But then 'mama' comes out when she's playing, eating, with me, without me, happy, sad,...it's hard to know for sure.  I am not yet ready to declare it a first word.  The other sound in the running for first word is 'more.'  We've been working on the sign for 'more' during meal times.  When we ask, "do you want more?", Staley often answers with 'uhmah'.  If we are too slow with the bite, 'uhmah' gets louder and more pronounced.  And on two occasions (both with banana puffs), Staley has combined 'uhmah' with bringing both hands together for the 'more' sign.  But can it be a first word if it doesn't actually sound like the word?  And can we claim that Staley knows a sign if she's only used it repeatedly on two occasions?

Motorically, Staley has been on the verge of making some big changes as well.  Getting onto hands and knees would be fun, but Staley hasn't quite figured out how to get both ends of her body working together.  She can push up on her arms and she can bring her legs up underneath her...just not both at the same time.  If something is out of reach, she will stretch as far as she can, but hasn't found an effective way to move herself forward.  When unable to reach what she wants, she'll eventually roll onto her back and play with her feet.  There's something to be said for the toys that are always attached to you.  Standing is still the skill that Staley is most proud of.  She loves to stand holding onto furniture, her activity table, or our hands.  Staley can pull herself up to stand at her activity table from sitting on my lap.  She has invented a fun game with this skill.  Pull up to stand, let go, plop down onto my lap, pull up to stand, let go, plop down...  She tries to pull herself up from sitting on the floor, but has not been successful yet.  And Staley is so close to finger feeding.  If I place her food piece between her thumb and finger, she can put it in her mouth consistently.  But when picking up her food pieces off her high chair tray, they often get lost in her hand and never make it into her mouth.  When picking them up on her own, she has only been successful once so far.  Unless you count success by how many pieces end up on the floor or in her high chair...because in that case, she's a superstar!

On the verge is an exciting place to be.  However, it's also a little bittersweet.  Each step towards talking and crawling and eating and walking is a step away from babyhood.  It's all just going by so quickly.  I love my baby girl so very much, and I'd like her to stay my baby girl for just awhile longer.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Washington, DC

We had 4 flights, 5 hours of layovers, and 68 hours of quality time to spend in DC.  How much vacation can one accomplish is a mere 68 hours?  LOTS!

Staley did GREAT for 3.75 of our 4 flights.  The 15 minutes of crying/screaming before falling asleep on the Washington to Chicago flight was not so fun.

We got to visit with our friends Christie and Jonathan while squeezing in every ounce of sightseeing possible.  In our short time in DC, we were able to stroll on the mall, see the monuments, giggle at Christie and Jonathan's dog, visit Arlington National Cemetary, cheer on the Gamecocks, browse the American History Museum, play with cups and spatulas, eat out, check out the Archives, break in baby Ray's baby gear, catch a chick flick in the theater, nap, grill steaks, drive by the White House, and still squeeze in late night video games.  To fit in all our activities, we occasionally had to divide and conquer.  For example, the chick flick and the late night video games were more gender specific activities.  But playing with the spatula and cup...well, those provided hours of fun for everyone!  

Strolling along to see some monuments

Spending some quality time with Abe

More scenic monument viewing

The spatula and cup game ROCKS!

So does Uncle Jonathan!

Washington, DC makes me happy!



Monday, September 5, 2011

Souvenir from Washington, DC

We just returned from a long week-end trip to our nation's capital.  (A post about our trip will be coming soon).  Although we bypassed the tie-dyed "I LOVE DC" t-shirts, we came home with fun pictures, great memories, and a few extra pounds.  And Staley came home with a special souvenir all her own...her fourth tooth!  Now her two bottom front teeth are a perfect match with her two top front teeth.  Guess she'll have to come up with something else she wants for Christmas.